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Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents:

A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders’


and Testaments

edited by John Thomas and Angela Constantinides Hero

with the assistance of Giles Constable

Published by

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

Washington, D.C.

in five volumes as number 35 in the series Dumbarton Oaks Studies


© 2000 Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University Washington, D.C.


29. Kosmosoteira: Typikon of the Sebastokrator Isaac Komnenos for the

Monastery of the Mother of God Kosmosoteira near Bera

Date: 1152 Translator: Nancy Patterson Sevcenko

Edition employed: L. Petit, “Typikon du monastère de la Kosmosotira près d’Aenos (1152),” IRAIK

13 (1908), 17–75, with text at 19–75.1

Manuscript: Copy executed by Elias Tsitelis (before 1904) from a codex of the late sixteenth


Other translations: None Institutional History A. Career of the Founder2

Isaac Komnenos was born in 1093, the sixth child of Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina Komnene. In 1118 he supported his eldest brother in securing the throne as John II Komnenos (1118–43) against the opposition of their sister Anna Komnene. He became patron of the Chora monastery in Constantinople and was responsible for a substantial reconstruction of the church.3 According to his account in (29) Kosmosoteira [89], he originally intended to be buried there, and a suitably elaborate tomb was prepared for the purpose. He was also a patron of the arts at this time, having commissioned a deluxe octateuch now in the library of the Seraglio in Istanbul.4 Isaac quarreled with the new emperor in 1122 or early 1123, and went into voluntary exile for the next fourteen years.5 During this period he visited the Holy Land, where he paid for the construc-tion of an aqueduct for the benefit of a monastery of St. John the Forerunner near the Jordan River.6 Isaac’s repeated attempts to gain support from neighboring rulers for an alliance against his brother met with no success. He was reconciled with John II in 1136.7

After a brief period of good relations, Isaac began to intrigue against John II again, and was banished to Herakleia in Pontos, where he was to be found at the emperor’s sudden death in a hunting accident in 1143.8 After John II’s son Manuel I Komnenos (1143–80) was able to secure the throne, he recalled his uncle from exile. Isaac next appears at his patrimonial estate at Thracian Bera when he began the composition of his typikon in 1152. As he indicates below in (29)

Kosmosoteira [5], it was Isaac’s intention to donate virtually his entire estate to the monastery.

According to the author, his role was as “restorer” of this foundation [5], implying that there was once an earlier facility on the site, but the foundations of the monastery church that is preserved on the site are of the twelfth century. At the time when the typikon was concluded, there were still auxiliary facilities that had not yet been completed, including the burial chapel for the monks [118] and possibly also the cistern [73], cf. [113]. The date of Isaac’s death is unknown, but a large, broken marble slab, now in the Episcopal Museum in Alexandroupolis, preserves an epi-taphial inscription that may have been composed for his tomb.9


B. Subsequent History of the Foundation in Byzantine Times

Thirty years after the date of the typikon, Isaac’s son became emperor as Andronikos I (1183–85). This talented but brutal ruler visited the monastery of Kosmosoteira in 1183 to pay his respects at his father’s grave.10 The monastery may well have been confiscated by the government of Isaac II Angelos (1185–95), who led a successful revolt against Andronikos I, but who was arrested and blinded at the monastery in 1195 at the orders of his own brother Alexios III Angelos (1195– 1203).11

After the conquest of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, the monastery was awarded to Geoffrey Villehardouin, author of the famous history of that crusade.12 The locality did not long remain in Latin hands, but was conquered by the Bulgarian ruler Kalojan (1197–1207) in 1205. It was back under Greek rule by the time the Nicaean Emperor John III Vatatzes (1221–54) stopped at the monastery in 1246.13

In the later Palaiologan era, the monastery had become a fortified site and, like many imperial monasteries, an occasional place of imprisonment.14 In 1341, the then rebel and future emperor John VI Kantakouzenos (1347–54) found the monastery defended by its monks and a group of peasants.15 The monastery had been abandoned by its monks by the time of Kantakouzenos’s abdication in 1354.16

C. Conversion of the Church to a Mosque in Ottoman Times

The Turks conquered Bera in the second half of the fourteenth century, either in 1357 or (more likely) in 1371/72.17 The old monastery is mentioned again in 1433, when Bertrandon de la Broquière visited the site.18 A Turkish town of some size had already grown up around the forti-fied citadel that stood on the site of the former religious foundation, the church of which had already been converted into a mosque. Another traveler, Robert de Dreux, who visited Bera in 1699, was also aware of the mosque’s origins as a Christian church.19

D. Identification of the Site and Publication of the Typikon

Manuel Gedeon published the first excerpts from (29) Kosmosoteira in 1898.20 The Russian scholar Theodore Uspensky’s study of Isaac Komnenos’ Seraglio Octateuch, published in 1907 for the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople, interested him in identifying the location of Isaac’s monastery. He identified the large mosque at the Turkish village of Feredjik, evidently once a Byzantine church, as the likely site of the foundation.

Feredjik was renamed Pherrai when this area of Thrace was assigned to Greece after the Balkan Wars of 1912–13. Earlier, during a brief period of Bulgarian rule over this area, the mosque was reconverted into a church, and the minaret was demolished along with most of the other structures dating from the Turkish era.21 The Greek Archaeological Service undertook structural repairs to keep the building from collapsing in 1926, and Anastasios Orlandos undertook a survey published in 1933.22 An inscription over the main door records the reconsecration of the church by Ioakeim, metropolitan of Alexandroupolis, in 1940.23 Aside from the monastery church, cer-tain fortifications, likely of the Palaiologan era or later, and some aqueducts survive on the site.24 Gedeon left the production of the complete edition of (29) Kosmosoteira to Louis Petit, to whom he sent his working manuscript, a recent copy made by a journalist, Elias Tsitselis of the


island of Kephalenia, of an older manuscript, once thought to be of the fifteenth century, which Tsitselis had found in the collection of Nicolas Pollanis, a local priest.25 Petit was unable to obtain access to the older manuscript for his edition of (29) Kosmosoteira published by the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople in 1908.


This remarkable document takes its place among the reform typika of the Evergetian tradition even though the author, like his mother Irene Doukaina Komnene, found some of the egalitarian features of the reform movement not to his liking. Generally speaking, Isaac Komnenos assimi-lated the ideology and structure of the Byzantine reform monastery of the twelfth century to more familiar norms of traditional private patronage, which provided far fewer constraints on a founder’s patronal prerogatives.

A. Use of the Model Typikon

Like (27) Kecharitomene, this is an Evergetian typikon. While it is necessary to sort the chapters of (27) Kecharitomene into entirely new analytic groups in order to appreciate the nature of its relationship to other Evergetian texts, (29) Kosmosoteira lends itself to a more straightforward division into five sections marked by differing degrees of originality and dependence on the model


1. Section One: Original Prefatory Materials

From the start, the author intended to employ the Evergetian model for his foundation. His identi-fication [8] of his intended source, (22) Evergetis, is remarkably straightforward. His own regula-tions, chapters [1] through [12], in the first section of the typikon were intended only as a supple-ment to the Evergetian transcriptions that were to follow.

2. Section Two: Evergetian Transcriptions

The next section of the typikon, chapters [13] through [29], are, as the author himself declares, essentially transcriptions from (22) Evergetis, meant to serve as a guide for his own foundation in liturgical and dietary matters. These transcriptions are usually verbatim or nearly so; only at the end of [27] is there a significant addition by the author.

3. Section Three: Mixed Original and Evergetian Materials

The author indicates the conclusion of his quotations in [30] and claims that “what follows now are my own wishes.” In actual fact, the author continues to rely heavily on (22) Evergetis through extensive quotations or paraphrases in this third section, chapters [30] through [61], which are intermixed with some of his own materials and another Evergetian typikon as well. This is an unusual technique; the authors of the two earlier documents dependent on (22) Evergetis, (30)

Phoberos and (27) Kecharitomene, were considerably more deferential to the actual text of the

model typikon, just as our author himself was in the previous section of his typikon. In this third section Isaac also seems to echo (though he does not actually quote from) his mother’s typikon.26 Our author uses this typikon, or perhaps some other Evergetian document such as the lost typikon of the Philanthropos monastery, to update the ideology of his own typikon. Thus we find a provi-sion [45] for the emergency sale of movable property to other churches, an injunction [57] to


preserve the cenobitic constitution even in extremis, a prohibition [58] of even profitable sales or exchanges of property, and a description [60] of procedures for safeguarding the treasury that are all to be found in (27) Kecharitomene but not in the earlier (22) Evergetis.

4. Section Four: Idiosyncratic Original Materials

This section, from chapters [62] through [116], contains a large number of often quite brief chap-ters, apparently of the author’s own composition. Only [81], in rejecting the right of monks to question their superior, seems to owe inspiration to (22) Evergetis [18], yet there is a great deal of repetition and clarification in this section, much of it resulting from the author’s rethinking of certain provisions he copied out of or paraphrased from (22) Evergetis earlier in the document. In a more smoothly edited document like (30) Phoberos or his mother’s (27) Kecharitomene, the author’s personal preferences are folded into the appropriate places in the transcriptions from (22)

Evergetis. Perhaps it was the author’s illness [70] if not his approaching death that made a more

orderly, conventional approach to the composition of an Evergetian typikon impossible.

5. Section Five: Justifications of Earlier Provisions

This last section, chapters [117] through [119], was apparently composed in response to a critique of the rest of the document, perhaps by the foundation’s superior or even the entire community of monks. It has a noticeably defensive tone as the author defends his provision [117] of privileges for certain of his lay associates and his plans [118] for the burial of deceased monks.

6. The Immediate Model for the Document

Like John, the author of (30) Phoberos, Isaac Komnenos was a close copier of (22) Evergetis, certainly much more so than his mother in her (27) Kecharitomene, not to mention the authors of later documents in the Evergetian tradition. (30) Phoberos and (29) Kosmosoteira are frequently the only surviving typika to adopt some of (22) Evergetis’ more archaic institutions, such as the latter’s three treasurers. They frequently break down (22) Evergetis’s long, unwieldy chapters in the same way, they draw upon their model in the same order, and in a few cases they even share the same chapter numeration (see Appendix C).

That (30) Phoberos, written either a little after or perhaps even before the final edition of (22)

Evergetis, should be such a close copy of its model is hardly remarkable. What is surprising is that

(29) Kosmosoteira should be such a close copy of (22) Evergetis too, and have so few detectable links (except those few chapters in Section Three) to (27) Kecharitomene. This curious set of relationships among these four documents suggests that there was a “vulgate” version of (22)

Evergetis circulating during the twelfth century that was somewhat different from our present text

of that important document. Hypothetically, it could be identified with either the “Lost Typikon” postulated earlier as the source of the post-Evergetian content of (27) Kecharitomene or perhaps some other link in the chain of reform typika stemming from the original (22) Evergetis.27 What-ever its precise identity, it appears to have been the most likely model first for (30) Phoberos, and then later in a slightly updated version, for (29) Kosmosoteira.

B. Stages of Composition

Except perhaps for (19) Attaleiates, (29) Kosmosoteira claims honors for the worst job of editorship by its medieval author. Therefore, there are more traces than usual of the document’s stages of


composition. Repetitive treatments provide some important clues. There are at least twenty-five multiple treatments of regulatory topics: twenty doublets, seven triplets, and a quintuplet.28

The chapters in Section One, the author’s original prefatory materials, surely were composed first. These include a notice [8] of his intent to use (22) Evergetis and a chapter [10] that echoes that source. The composition of the chapters in Section Two, the Evergetian transcriptions, likely followed shortly thereafter. Much as the author promises in [8], there is little overlap of materials in these two sections.29

The chapters in Section Three, those of mixed original and Evergetian derivation, were com-posed after some reflection on the provisions contained in the earlier sections. In this section the author returns to five topics he had addressed earlier in Section One.30 A doublet of a topic ad-dressed in this section for the first time31 indicates that the section was composed in at least two sittings, with a break someplace between [45] and [58]. Most likely the author broke off work on this section after the Evergetian quotation in [53] and resumed work on this section with [54], an original chapter .

Section Four is home to the largest number of repetitive treatments. Most of these are recon-siderations or reiterations of positions on topics first discussed in the previous sections of the

typikon.32 Others show the author taking up new topics and then returning to them again in this same section.33 These latter repetitions help to demonstrate that this section, like the previous one, was not composed in one sitting either. Rather, it appears that the author added chapters as he saw a need for them.

Three double treatments occurring in this section suggest a break in composition after [68] but before [72].34 The wordings of the first sentences of [70] and [71] suggest that these chapters were products of individual work sessions. A doublet confirms a break between [71] and [76].35 Perhaps the author resumed work with [72], with three more double treatments suggesting a break again sometime after [86] but before [91].36 Judging from two later double treatments, there was apparently a final compositional break in this section after [97] but before [113].37 The reading of the text suggests [100] as the most likely place for the author to have resumed work. Lastly, the author states in [115] that a regulation he provided in [113] was written “some time ago,” indicat-ing another compositional break. Thus the Fourth Section may well have taken seven sessions or more of writing to complete.

The Fifth Section of the typikon consists of three chapters, two of them justifications of ear-lier provisions.38 These suggest that before the author composed this section, an earlier version of the typikon (or at least knowledge of its contents) had begun to circulate among the monastery’s officials and perhaps also the monks, provoking the criticism that led to this response.

The evidence adduced above then indicates that Isaac Komnenos worked on (29) Kosmosoteira in no less than twelve work sessions, which supports Nancy Sevcenko’s hypothesis of the incre-mental composition of this document.39

C. Lives of the Monks

1. Number of Monks


be supported at the monastery. Originally, he sets the [3] the number at fifty; they were to be assisted by another twenty-four servants. All were to be over thirty years of age, but later he lowers [49] the minimum age to twenty-four or to twenty-six (so [50]) for relatives and acquain-tances of monks previously admitted. Eunuchs were banned, except [55] for donors of valuable property. The superior is told [3] to select monks “adorned with virtue, not ones vulgar and undis-ciplined and thoroughly without learning,” which may mean that the author expected that they be of upper-class origins. Subsequently, the author declares [48] his anticipation of a future increase in the number of monks, circumstances permitting; but under the influence of (22) Evergetis [23] he also endorses the idea of not exceeding the number of pious monks that happened to be avail-able. Towards the end of the typikon, the author simply urges [88] the superior to “make haste to further increase” the number of monks in so far as the income of the foundation permits.

2. Liturgical Duties

All of the fifty monks were to be assigned [3] to the performance of hymnody in the church. The treatment of the canonical offices [13], [14], [15] follows the pattern established in (22) Evergetis [4], [5], [6] from which the author quotes with only minor changes. The author had heard reports of monks in other monasteries who neglected their hymnody, and not wanting that to happen here, provides [68] set hours for their awakening in winter and summer. Later, he makes [80] the supe-rior responsible for seeing to it that the monks meet their responsibilities to the choir; only sick-ness could excuse an assigned monk from attendance.

There were processions on the most important feasts, at Easter [103] and on the patronal feast day of the Dormition of the Mother of God [65], cf. [10]. The other feasts of the Mother of God were also celebrated [9] with special solemnity.

3. Manual Labor

The servants’ performance of their duties was to be considered [81] “as a hymn to the Mother of God,” that is to say, of equivalent worth to the choir duties of the monks. The only specific respon-sibility mentioned is the obligation of some to serve [61], [70] as orderlies in the hospital. Al-though the author instructs [97] the superior to establish craftsmen inside the enclosure of the monastery to work on construction projects, these were likely a separate group of lay workers at the disposal of the monastery.

4. Length of the Novitiate

Isaac Komnenos provides [55] that there should be a novitiate of six months’ duration. Unlike the authors of other documents in the reform tradition, even (22) Evergetis [37], he chose not to make any distinction between distinguished (i.e., noble) applicants and others in the term of probation-ary service required. Relatives and acquaintances of monks already at the foundation were espe-cially welcome; the author instructs [50] the superior to admit them “without hesitation or hin-drance” provided they were at least twenty-six years old.

5. Sacramental Life

The monks’ sacramental life was patterned closely on the provisions of (22) Evergetis [13], in-cluding a “first and great confession” [18] at tonsure, daily confession [16] to the superior there-after, and reception of the eucharist [14] at the superior’s discretion.


6. Cenobitic Lifestyle

The founder endorses [6] the cenobitic lifestyle, which he understood to mean in the first instance a common partaking of meals. Later in the typikon, paraphrasing (22) Evergetis [25], he also provides [52] for a communal supply of clothes (with specific items listed in [62]); an endorse-ment of the key provision of (22) Evergetis [26] providing for equality in food, drink and clothing for all follows [53] immediately afterward, backed up as in the model typikon by monthly visita-tions by the superior to the monks’ cells to seize unauthorized belongings. In typical fashion for this author, there is a repetition [57] of the exhortation to the common life, which paraphrases a chapter of (22) Evergetis [42]. Substantial donors, however, may have been exempt (cf. [55]) from the requirement of communal residence.

7. Cohabitation of Older and Younger Monks

The author chooses [51] to revive the idea of (22) Evergetis [24] of placing monks two to a cell. After having been advanced by his model typikon, this idea had fallen out of favor in the twelfth century; (30) Phoberos [43], for example, suggested putting three monks in a cell. Perhaps the pairing facilitated the author’s eagerness [50] to admit relatives and acquaintances of the monks (as their servants?). To avoid problems, the author declares [49] that no young men less than twenty-four years of age (twenty-six in [50]) should be admitted, even if they are relatives or friends. Doing the opposite he notes has been the cause of “many scandals and physical harm, antithetical to laws and canons.” This had also been the opinion of the author of (30) Phoberos [58].

8. Servants

The author’s use of (22) Evergetis [24] for placement of two monks in a cell pointedly omits the Evergetian ban on servants for the obvious reason that they are in fact permitted [3] in this foun-dation. Ten of the servants were assigned [61] to the foundation’s infirmary.

9. Diet

Although he incorporates ([24] through [29]) the dietary regulations of (22) Evergetis [9], [10], [11], Isaac Komnenos also declares [6] that there will be a “bounteous supply” of food. Later in the typikon, he returns [63] to the subject to discuss the ordinary diet during non-fast days, thereby filling a gap in the model typikon, which was more concerned about special provisions for fasts and feasts. The founder also urges the superior to make cheap seasonal purchases of bulk quanti-ties of oil and wine for use throughout the year.

10. Bathing

Originally it seems that Isaac Komnenos intended that the monks should use [97] the same bath-house as was placed at the disposal of the general public for the monthly baths he allowed them to take. The superior could allow the sick unlimited access. Later, the founder evidently thought better of this arrangement. Towards the end of the typikon he announces [113] that, after his death, the monks should use another bathhouse that he had erected for his own “seasonal use and enjoy-ment.” But like his own private residence, the founder provides that it should be torn down “if it should appear to be a liability to the monastery and [lead] to the monks being disturbed by power-ful individuals” admitted to the monastery to worship the Mother of God.


11. Care of Sick Monks

Isaac Komnenos provides [61] that a “competent and proven” doctor be given “appropriate rec-ompense and a salary” for caring for sick monks and other “ailing brethren” he has arranged to be hospitalized in the foundation’s old age infirmary (gerokomeion, for which see [70]). Eight [70] or perhaps ten [61] of the monastery’s servants would help the doctor care for the patients.

12. Burial

When Isaac Komnenos began his typikon, he had not yet completed the cemetery in which he proposes [54] to bury the foundation’s departed monks. There would be a funeral procession and proper burial for each. The founder trusted to the superior to know how to perform the funerary hymn (epitaphios). Except for certain favorites and a possible future benefactor willing to pay handsomely for the privilege of an exception, the author wished [86] to keep all burials outside the enclosure wall of the monastery. This proved to be an unpopular decision with the monks (they had been promised burial within the enclosure), and subsequently the author thought he had to explain [118] his change of plans. By that time, he had laid the foundations of a small chapel at his own preferred site near the bathhouse, and of a stone wall meant to enclose it. The superior was to finish the work if necessary, adding a mausoleum. Two monks would be stationed at the chapel for performing commemorative services.

D. Constitutional Matters

1. Independent and Self-Governing Status

Isaac Komnenos declares [12] that Kosmosoteira should be an independent monastery, never “sub-ject to imperial, private or patriarchal authority” nor to any of his own heirs. In a damaged part of this text there appears to be an allusion to the charistike or perhaps some more recent scheme of institutional exploitation; the founder instructs the superior to avoid “this sort of damaging admin-istration conducive to destruction.”

Later in the typikon, the author returns to the subject in a more legalistic chapter [31] that reflects some of the terminology in (22) Evergetis [12] but is actually closer to the longer, post-Evergetian formulation (cf. (30) Phoberos [33], (27) Kecharitomene [1], (28) Pantokrator [69], and (32) Mamas [4]) which explicitly bans future participation in the charistike, epidosis, and

ephoreia among other schemes for institutional exploitation.

Isaac also notes that he has obtained [108] by patriarchal grant the ruined church of St. Stephen of the Aurelian at Constantinople, which, after having been restored by him, was now to serve as

Kosmosoteira’s dependency, to be used as a temporary residence by monks visiting the capital


2. Leadership

The author appeals [31] to the emperor to assist the monks should they find themselves in diffi-culty in the future, but he refrains from designating him as the institution’s protector. In this im-portant respect then the author was truer to Evergetian reform principles than either his mother Empress Irene Doukaina, the author of (27) Kecharitomene, or his brother, Emperor John II, the author of (28) Pantokrator.


Instead, in a pietistic gesture, Isaac designates [12] the Mother of God herself as protectress; guardian and ally for the protection (ephoreia) and assistance (epikouria) of the monastery. This meant in effect that the superior, in keeping with Evergetian principles, would be the real master of the foundation: “he has free rein over the administration of the monastery in all things.” Later, Isaac defines [31] this to include the enrollment and removal of monks in the foundation and the control of income and expenditure. Moreover, the superior was to have the right (if in full posses-sion of his faculties at his death) to choose [12], by convocation and consultation of all the monks, his successor. Even if the superior were to resign, he would still have the right, with the help of the rest of the monks, to designate his successor.

As he does with many other topics, the author returns [32] to this one to expand on his earlier treatment. Here he takes his lead from (22) Evergetis [14], providing for a new superior to be chosen “without the influence of bribery or any heated voting,” preferably unanimously or at least by a vote of the “more important and eminent monks.” This second treatment of the issue repre-sents the author’s attempt to reconcile the Evergetian tradition with his own ideas, which envi-sioned a more important role for the superior in choosing his own successor.

Later on in the typikon, Isaac Komnenos adds [78] the restriction that no outsider is to be chosen superior, but should be selected instead from among the monks of the brotherhood.

The superior’s installation ceremony was designed to emphasize [33] that the superior derived his authority ultimately from the typikon, which was placed with the pastoral staff on the altar.

3. Selection of Other Officials

The superior, in conjunction with “some distinguished” monks of the brotherhood, was to select [34] the steward by vote. He would then be installed in a ceremony cribbed from (22) Evergetis [13]. The monastery’s other officials were to be chosen [35] in the same way, then installed in office as in (22) Evergetis [29]. In the description of the other officials of the monastery, Isaac limits himself to those featured in the comparable chapters of (22) Evergetis, [30], [31], [34], namely the three treasurers [36], the disciplinarian and the refectorian [37], and the property ad-ministrators [40]. He does not draw on the more developed list of officials and duties found in his mother’s typikon, (27) Kecharitomene [19] through [29]. As in (22) Evergetis [38], the officials were to have lifetime tenure [38] unless they proved to be unfit.

4. Consultative Rule by the Superior

By sticking so closely to the example of (22) Evergetis [13], [14], [19], the author deliberately or otherwise revives the importance of the preeminent monks in such matters as the choice of the steward [34] and, if necessary, his deposition [41], and the witnessing of permitted alienations [45]. They were also to be responsible [78], along with the superior, for the security of the foundation’s inventory. There is no provision for removal of the superior. Following the lead of (22) Evergetis [18] which freed the superior from any financial accountability to his monks, Isaac was unwilling to allow [81] the monks to question the superior about anything, with the notable exceptions of his “desiring things that [could lead] to the ruin of the monastery” or if he should “think or act in secret” (i.e., fail to govern consultatively).

5. Patronal Privileges


Komnenos reserves for himself the right to appoint the superior [12] and, apparently, the steward [5]. Isaac lived at the foundation in his own residence, which he instructs [115] the superior to tear down after his death if it should become a nuisance because of travelers camping inside of it. Isaac also expected [89] to be buried in the monastery church, after his tomb had been packed up from its original site at the Chora church in Constantinople and shipped to the foundation at Kosmosoteira. The monks were to conduct [90] a daily service of propitiation at the tomb in the narthex. Isaac reminds the superior and monks no less than five times of their responsibility not to neglect his commemoration.40 After all, he declares [11], “I did assign my own possessions and properties to the monastery and to them,” thereby reminding the superior and the monks of the essential patronal

quid pro quo of the twelfth century. He was unwilling to allow [77] the monks to create a portrait

of himself, however, since “to do so would be a condemnation of my wretched soul.” The icons at his tomb, however, were to be maintained [109] and restored if necessary.

Even the monastery’s independence is made conditional [12] on its employment of the founder’s secretary Michael and the retainer Leo Kastamonites. The former, said to have played an impor-tant role in the design of the foundation, was to be housed [107] by it within the enclosure of the monastery “as [though he were] an internal monk41 and a ward (thremma) of the monastery.”

Both Michael and Leo Kastamonites were to be buried in the church [107] cf. [54] and re-ceive posthumous commemoration. Leo was to be reckoned as “an integral part” of the monastery which may mean that he too, like Michael, was to be considered as an internal monk.

The third special beneficiary was to be [107] the founder’s foster child Konstitzes. He too was to be a ward of the monastery. The founder also provides [110] him and Michael with the income from several villages for their maintenance. Like the latter, Konstitzes would eventually be buried [107], cf. [86] “in a special place of honor” in the monastery.

The founder attempts to clarify [117] these privileges towards the end of the typikon. The tone adopted suggests that the founder was trying to respond to objections raised (perhaps by the supe-rior or some other representative of the foundation) to his indulgent provisions for his associates in [107]. To this end, he emphasizes the reciprocal nature of the relationship between his associ-ates Michael and Leo on the one hand and the monastery on the other. The former are to “be of assistance and every support” to the latter “and look upon it and reckon it as something that lives in place of me.” As far as Konstitzes was concerned, the monastery was to pay maintenance to him until he reached the age of twenty-four and married.

So the answer to the question “Who would dare to send an imposed guest (katapemptos) to an independent monastery?” posed by the authors of (27) Kecharitomene [53] and (32) Mamas [26], is here “the founder” himself. Isaac Komnenos is careful, however, to exclude [107] Leo Kastamonites’ relatives from claiming his associate’s properties and possessions after his death. Presumably these were to be inherited by the monastery. Inheritance claims such as those fore-closed here may have been among the reasons founders more committed to reform principles than our author were anxious to eradicate the use of “imposed guests” (cf. (27) Kecharitomene [79]). The founder’s parents, Alexios Komnenos and Irene Doukaina, were to be commemorated on the days of their deaths [54], cf. [95]. Two Jewish converts, Irene and an unnamed husband, were to continue to receive [93] from the foundation the cash and in-kind annunities originally pro-vided to them by the founder in a promissory note. He also instructs the superior to honor other promissory notes that might be presented to him.


6. Reading of the Typikon and Security of Documents

Following (22) Evergetis [43], the founder provides [59] for a monthly reading of his typikon at mealtimes. The physical security of the typikon and other important documents was also a concern for the founder, as it was for other founders of the twelfth century. He clearly foresees [69] how an institution might lose valuable property titles by surrendering them to officials making inquiries into the monastery’s rights and privileges. The typikon, the inventory, and property titles were to be kept [99] in a secure storehouse ([78] says in the sacristy); working copies authenticated by the local archbishop were to be used for ordinary purposes in their stead. Officials conducting inves-tigations were to be supplied [69] with transcriptions of the relevant passages. The documents relating to the foundation’s dependency of St. Stephen at Constantinople were also to be kept [108] in the sacristy at Kosmosoteira. Isaac Komnenos instructs [92] the superior to retrieve cer-tain property titles from his counterpart at the Chora monastery, which suggests that the former had originally intended to donate the properties represented by these deeds to that monastery. The sacristy was also where Isaac expected to place [116] the sealed Gift and Grant Ordinance meant to serve as the final conveyance of his personal properties to the monastery.

E. Financial Matters

1. Financial Administration

Isaac Komnenos borrows from (22) Evergetis [13], [30], [34] to set up the financial administra-tion for his foundaadministra-tion. The officials are the steward [34], the three treasurers [36], and the prop-erty administrators [40]. After his own death, he expected the superior, along with “some of the distinguished [monks] of the foundation,” to select [34] a steward. The preeminent monks could join together to remove [41] an unfit steward, even one being protected by the superior. In keeping with the sentiments of his age, Isaac orders [46], cf. [36] that officials keep accurate records of the foundation’s income and expenditures. He declines [57] to follow (22) Evergetis [42] in the latter’s assertion that losses to the monastery through the carelessness of its officials were morally equivalent to outright theft or profiteering. His provisions [60] for a cash box jointly administered by the superior and certain of his financial administrators are shared with other post-Evergetian institu-tions in the reform movement. He likewise adopts another practice of twelfth-century founders (e.g., his mother the author of (27) Kecharitomene [24]) in providing [94] for a special reserve treasury to be used in the event of some calamity befalling the monastery.

2. Inalienability of Property

Isaac Komnenos makes use of (22) Evergetis [19] in asserting [45] the inalienability of his foundation’s properties except under the usual calamitous circumstances such as a fire, earth-quake, or destruction resulting from an enemy raid. He returns to this topic later in the typikon in order to prohibit [58] alienations again, even if “the price or equivalent value offered should be double, triple, or even ten times as much” as the property offered for sale or exchange (cf. (27)

Kecharitomene [9]). The books donated by the founder and listed in the inventory were also to be

included [106] in this ban on the alienation of property. Evidently a certain vineyard, then in dispute with a monastery dedicated to the Pantokrator, was considered a special case, for he pro-vides [106] that the superior was to agree to a cash settlement and use the money to buy another useful property if Kosmosoteira’s claim to the vineyard could not be vindicated.


3. Entrance Gifts Not Mandatory

As in other reform monasteries, applicants for admission to Kosmosoteira were not to be obliged to make [55] a contribution (apotage) or offering (prosenexis) to secure entrance. As elsewere, however, free-will gifts were acceptable, and such gifts, once made, could not be reclaimed by donors who subsequently chose to leave the monastery.

4. Other Sources of Income

The typikon contains [69] a list of consecrated immovable properties, including some atypical ones such as rights over annual fairs, a marketplace, and twelve ships exempt from cargo tax. Isaac Komnenos shows himself keenly alert to other possible sources of income for his founda-tion. He was willing to bend [86] his rule against burials within the monastery’s enclosure to allow the burial of someone “who is very rich” in exchange for a sizable donation of movable and immovable property. Likewise, a very wealthy individual seeking tonsure was to receive [55] preferential admission and “dwellings suitable for his own habitation” in exchange for substantial donations. Isaac Komnenos foresees [103] the possibility of adding to the foundation’s endow-ment of landed properties through subsequent purchases of neighboring villages. The public bath-house [97] and the fisheries on the river Maritza [66] were certainly additional sources of income for the monastery; the bridges [67] the founder built for the convenience of travelers may have been too.

5. Provisions for Building Maintenance

Isaac Komnenos shared the concern of his mother, Irene Doukaina, the author of (27) Kecharitomene [73], for building maintenance. His foremost concern in this regard was the structural integrity of the monastery’s church. The roof was to be retiled [79] as needed to avoid water damage to the adornment of the church. The monks were also to clean [82] the marble floor of the church daily. Should the building be destroyed by an earthquake or other calamity, the superior was to rebuild [102] it without delay, preserving the existing quality in color and material. The founder also provides for the maintenance or repair of the monks’ dormitory and the old age infirmary [70], the cistern [73], cf. [113], the bridges [67], the peasants’ church of St. Prokopios [104], and the depen-dency of St. Stephen [108] in Constantinople.

F. Overall Philosophy

1. Moral Integrity of the Foundation’s Assets

The founder declares [2] that he has built this foundation in order to seek pardon for “innumerable sins,” and that this was done “not out of the profits of injustice,” but “at private expense.” He also asserts [5] that the resources he has donated to the foundation are the result of lifetime labors and his “patrimonial inheritance, not “some unjust way of life.” Later, he repeats this assertion, assert-ing [70] that “not one stone did I brassert-ing to the church without payassert-ing for it.”

2. Acceptance of Privileges

To be sure, the author reproduces some of the egalitarian sentiments of his model, (22) Evergetis [9], [17], that can properly be seen as hostile to aristocratic privilege within the monastery. Among these are the condemnation [22] of quarrels about seating at meals which includes the violent language of its Evergetian equivalent, and the disclaimer [42] of noble birth or largess as


qualifi-cations for the superiorship. These bows to the rhetoric of the Evergetian tradition must be dis-counted in view of the founder’s willingness to make [55] disciplinary concessions in return for substantial donations of landed or movable property. The extensive special privileges conceded by the founder to his lay associates Michael and Leo Kastamonites as well as to his foster-son Konstitzes (see especially [107]), while not necessarily compromising the cenobitic life of the monastery, still must be seen as counter-Evergetian revivals of the mores of traditional private patronage before the monastic reform.

G. External Relations

1. Canon Law and Relations with the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy

Isaac Komnenos continues the trend observable among founders of the twelfth century of show-ing increasshow-ing knowledge of and a certain amount of respect for the requirements of canon law. For example, he justifies [49] his exclusion of youths from the monastery by claiming that their admission is “antithetical to the laws and canons.” Our author’s willingness to establish coopera-tive relations with the ecclesiastical hierarchy was where the claims of canon law evidently had the greatest impact on him. As noted above, he recognizes [4], [32] the right of the archbishop of Traianoupolis to install the monastery’s superior. This official is also charged [4] with preparing an official report on disputes between the superior and the monks that cannot be resolved inter-nally. This was to serve to frame the dispute for resolution by the patriarch of Constantinople “in accordance with the canons.” The same metropolitan was also to assist [41] the preeminent monks in counseling the superior to dismiss an unfit steward.

After some further reflection, the founder returns [111] to this subject late in the typikon. By then he thought it prudent to limit patriarchal authority explicitly to the mediation of disputes, “for I have not given to the patriarch any other authority or supervision over the monastery.” Evidently Isaac had become worried that even partial recognitions of the perquisites of the ecclesiastical hierarchy might compromise his foundation’s independence.

2. Institutional Philanthropy

Isaac Komnenos, claiming that he would “happily throw thrift to the wind when it comes to dis-tributing to those in need,” warns [87] the monks not to cite a lack of income as an excuse for not practicing almsgiving. Indeed, this document may be the first of our typika to take almsgiving so seriously as an institutional obligation, going considerably beyond the perfunctory charity found in earlier documents, even those in the reform tradition. Edible leftovers from the monks’ “boun-teous supply” of food were to be distributed [6] daily at the gate. Additional charitable distribu-tions at the gate were to take place [9] on all feasts of the Mother of God; on the feast of the Dormition, some one hundred “brothers” were to be invited [10] into the monastery to partake in a special feast for which the founder provides detailed prescriptions. As usual in the Evergetian tradition, women were excluded [56] from the regular distributions but not from those on feast days. They were allowed [84] access to the church to worship and pray for the founder’s soul three times a year.

There was also to be an old age home (gerokomeion) established [70] at the monastery, lo-cated inside the outer periphery wall. Isaac Komnenos provides [61] that a “competent and proven”


doctor paid by the monastery was to be stationed there here to care not only for sick monks but also lay people, up to the institution’s capacity of thirty-six patients. Ten ([70] says eight) of the monastery’s servants would assist the doctor; an ordained monk assigned to a church established there would provide [70] religious services. Those patients who died at the infirmary would re-ceive proper funerals and burials.

Isaac Komnenos also was proud of his abolition [114] of highway tolls along a road running near the monastery that belonged to him as a “paternal inheritance.”

More than most of his contemporaries, Isaac Komnenos realized the necessary link between the financial resources dedicated to his foundation and the performance of the prescribed philan-thropic activities. He asserts [96], however, that the former are “adequate for a reasonable rein-forcement of my injunctions.”

3. Relations with the Peasantry and Other Dependents

Isaac Komnenos’ solicitude for the dependent peasantry, like his commitment to institutional phi-lanthropy, goes considerably beyond the typical admonitions of his contemporaries that the institution’s cultivators should not be treated unfairly. Claiming that the latter have “not been accustomed to unjust collections,” he asserts [71] further that “it is senseless and unreasonable for a holy monastery such as this to be awarded to the Mother of God yet have the inhabitants who furnish its income be harmed or made miserable, in so far as this is unnecessary.” This demon-strates a fairly keen social conscience for the times. He repeats [76] this line of argument later as justification for his admonition to the superior and the monks not to impose any new burdens or unreasonable exactions on the peasants.

Later still, the founder provides [103] that the peasants’ villages are not to be dislocated. He also establishes [104] a ministry for them based in a church of St. Prokopios he has restored for this purpose. They were also permitted to worship in the monastery’s church. The founder charges the superior personally with their spiritual supervision.

Clearly, though, the founder placed the welfare of his monks above that of the peasants. The latter were not allowed [86] to bury their dead in their own villages, but were to do so far away so that “no unhealthy pollution enters the atmosphere.” Beasts were also prohibited [101] from the monastery’s enclosure, also for hygienic reasons.

A curious set of provisions which attempt to adjudicate [98] cases of arson among the villag-ers, while displaying the author’s good sense and compassion, do not oblige the monastery to provide financial assistance to the victims. Soldiers (stratiotai) were stationed [110] in two of the monastery’s villages; they were notorious for behaving badly towards their neighbors and they refused to pay taxes. The superior was nevertheless to treat them as potential allies, useful for defending the monastery’s villages from unnamed predators. Another group of privileged, armed dependents, the vestiaritai, were left over [112] from the construction of the monastery. They were to be allowed to settle near the monastery’s fortress (kastron), from which base they would provide dispatch services for the superior and, like the tributary soldiers, protection for the monastery’s possessions.


Notes on the Introduction

1. After this volume had gone to press, a new edition of the typikon of Kosmosoteira was published by G. K. Papazoglou based on a late 16th-century manuscript recently discovered in the libary of the monastery of Saint Gerasimos on Kephalenia (Typikon Isaakiou Alexiou Komnenou tes mones Theotokou tes

Kosmosoteiras [Komotene, 1994]). This is the manuscript thought to have been lost at the turn of the

century (see below, Institutional History, D: Identification of the Site and Publication of the Typikon, and Petit, “Kosmosotira,” pp. 17–18). We wish to thank Dr. Nancy P. Sevcenko for bringing this edition to our attention and regret that it appeared too late for us to benefit from it.

2. For Isaac Komnenos, see Ferjanciç, “Sevastokratori,” pp. 156–57; Jurewicz, Andronikos I, pp. 28–35; Kazhdan, “Isaac Komnenos,” p. 1146; Varzos, Genealogia, vol. 1, pp. 238–54.

3. For this foundation, see Janin, Géographie, vol. 3, pp. 531–38; Ousterhout, Kariye Camii; and Underwood,

Kariye Djami, vol. 1, pp. 3–23.

4. Uspensky, “Seralskii kodeks.”

5. Niketas Choniates, Historia, ed. J. A. Van Dieten (Berlin, 1975), p. 32; for dating, see Sinos, Kosmosoteira, p. 9, n. 24.

6. Kurtz, “Unedierte Texte,” p. 102.

7. Choniates, Historia, ed. Van Dieten, p. 32; for dating, see Sinos, Kosmosoteira, p. 10, n. 29. 8. John Kinnamos, Historia, ed. A. Meineke, CSHB (Bonn, 1836), p. 32.

9. Ed. Uspensky, “Seralskii kodeks,” p. 26, and Patterson (Sevcenko), “Frescoes,” p. 47 (with English trans-lation); see also discussion in Ousterhout, rev. Sinos, Kosmosoteira, p. 230.

10. Choniates, Historia, ed. Van Dieten, p. 280. 11. Choniates, Historia, ed. Van Dieten, p. 452.

12. Geoffrey de Villehardouin, La conquête de Constantinople, ed. Edmond Faral, 2 vols. (Paris, 1938–39), vol. 2, p. 190.

13. George Akropolites, Chronike Syngraphe, ed. A. Heisenberg, Georgii Acropolitae opera (Leipzig, 1903), corr. P. Wirth, vol. 1 (Stuttgart, 1978), p. 72.

14. John Kantakouzenos, Historiarum libri IV, ed. L. Schopen, CSHB, vol. 2 (Bonn, 1828–32), pp. 111, 348; see also Sinos, Kosmosoteira, pp. 22–23.

15. Kantakouzenos, Historiarum libri IV, CSHB, vol. 2, p. 196. 16. Kantakouzenos, Historiarum libri IV, CSHB, vol. 3, p. 310.

17. See discussion of the Turkish sources in Sinos, Kosmosoteira, pp. 26–27.

18. C. H. A. Schefer, Le voyage d’Outremer de Bértrandon de la Broquière (Paris, 1892), pp. 179–80. 19. Robert de Dreux, Voyage en Turquie et en Grèce, ed. H. Pernot (Paris, 1925), p. 85; quoted in Sinos,

Kosmosoteira, p. 29, n. 102.

20. Gedeon, “Typikon.” 21. Sinos, Kosmosoteira, p. 33. 22. Orlandos, “Mnemeia.”

23. Ed. Patterson (Sevcenko), “Frescoes,” p. 19, n. 5.

24. Orlandos, “Mnemeia,” pp. 29–34; Ousterhout, rev. Sinos, Kosmosoteira, p. 229. 25. Petit, “Kosmosotira,” p. 18.

26. (27) Kecharitomene [2], [9], [10], [24], [55]; cf. (29) Kosmosoteira [57], [58], [45], [60], [57], respec-tively.

27. For these proposed intermediaries, see the discussion above in (27) Kecharitomene, Analysis, B. Model


28. Repetitive treatments, by section (roman numerals) and chapter (in brackets):

Secret Testament: I [1]; IV [96], [116]

Honest endowment: I [2]; IV [70] Number of monks: I [3]; III [48]; IV [88] Installation of the superior: I [4]; III [32]


Patriarchal mediation: I [4]; IV [111] Diet: I [6]; II [24] through [29]; IV [63] Maintenance of cenobiticism: I [6]; III [57]

Founder’s commemoration: I [7]; [11]; IV [64], [72], [91] Feast of the Dormition: I [10]; II [29]; IV [65]

Institutional independence: I [12]; III [31] Election of the superior: I [12]; III [32]

Performance of the hours: II [13] through [15]; IV [68], [80] Financial officials: III [36]; IV [60]

Inalienability of property: III [45], [58] Bookkeeping requirements: III [46]; IV [100] Communal provision of clothing: III [52]; IV [62] Parents’ commemoration: III [54]; IV [95]

Special privileges for associates: III [54]; IV [107]; V [117] Burial of the monks: III [54]; IV [86]; V [118]

Women’s access: III [56]; IV [84] Old age home: III [61]; IV [70]

Relations with the peasantry: IV [71], [76] Care of the cistern: IV [73], [113] Storage of the inventory: IV [78], [99] Burial of Konstitzes: IV [86], [107] Founder’s icons: IV [90], [109] Monks’ bath: IV [97], [113]

Demolition of the founder’s personal facilities: IV [113], [115]

29. But see discussions of diet in I [6] and in II [24] through [29], and of the feast of the Dormition in I [10] and in II [29].

30. Installation of the superior: III [32], cf. I [4]; institutional independence: III [31], cf. I [12]; election of the superior: III [32], cf. I [12]; number of monks: III [48], cf. I [3]; and maintenance of cenobiticism: III [57], cf. I [6].

31. Inalienability of property: III [45], [58].

32. Financial officials: IV [60], cf. III [36]; communal provision of clothing: IV [62], cf. III [52]; diet: IV [63], cf. I [6] and II [24] through [29]; founder’s commemoration: IV [64], [72], [91], cf. I [7], [11]; feast of the Dormition: IV [65], cf. I [10], II [29]; performance of the hours: IV [68], [80], cf. II [13] through [15]; honest endowment: IV [70], cf. I [2]; old age home: IV [70], cf. III [61]; women’s access: IV [84], cf. III [56]; burial of the monks: IV [86], cf. III [54]; number of monks: IV [88], cf. I [3], III [48]; parents’ commemoration: IV [95], cf. III [54]; Secret Testament: IV [96], [116], cf. I [1]; book-keeping requirements: IV [100], cf. III [46]; special privileges for associates: IV [107], cf. III [54]; patriarchal mediation: IV [111], cf. I [4].

33. Relations with the peasantry: IV [71], [76]; care of the cistern: [73], [113]; storage of the inventory: [78], [99]; burial of Konstitzes: [86], [107]; monks’ bath: [97], [113]; demolition of the founder’s personal facilities: [113], [115].

34. Founder’s commemoration: IV [64], [72]; performance of the hours: IV [68], [80]. 35. Relations with the peasantry: IV [71], [76].

36. Founder’s commemoration: IV [72], [91]; storage of the inventory: IV [78], [99]; burial of Konstitzes: [86], [107].

37. Secret Testament: IV [96], [116]; monks’ bath: [97], [113].

38. Special privileges for associates: V [117], cf. III [54], IV [107]; burial of the monks: V [118], cf. III [54]. 39. N. Sevcenko, “The Tomb of Isaak Komnenos at Pherrai,” GOTR 29.2 (1984), p. 135, n. 2.

40. (29) Kosmosoteira [7], [11], [64], [72], [91]. 41. An esomonites; cf. (28) Pantokrator [28].



Beck, Hans-Georg, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), p. 648. Ferjanciç, Bozhidar, “Sevastokratori u Vizantiji,” ZRVI 11 (1968), pp. 159–92, esp. 156–57.

Gedeon, Manuel, “To typikon tes mones Theotokou Kosmosoteiras,” EA 18 (1898), 112–15, 144–48, 188– 91.

Jeanselme, Edouard, “Le régime alimentaire des anachorètes et des moines byzantins,” extract from 2e

Congrès d’histoire de la médecine (Evreux, 1922), 28 pp.

Jurewicz, Oktawiusz, Andronikos I. Komnenos (Amsterdam, 1970), pp. 28–35. Kazhdan, Alexander, “Isaac Komnenos, the Porphyrogennetos,” ODB, p. 1146.

Kurtz, Ed., “Unedierte Texte aus der Zeit des Kaisers Johannes Komnenos,” BZ 16 (1907), 69–119, esp. 101–19.

Magdalino, Paul, “The Byzantine Aristocratic Oikos,” in The Byzantine Aristocracy, IX–XIII Centuries, ed. Michael Angold (Oxford, 1984), pp. 92–111, esp. 103–5.

Magdalino, Paul, and Nelson, Robert, “The Emperor in Byzantine Art of the Twelfth Century,” BF 8 (1982), 123–83, esp. 130–32.

Medico, M. H. E. del, “Essai sur Kahrié Djami au début du XIIe siècle,” BZ 32 (1932), 16–48.

Oeconomos, Lysimaque, La vie religieuse dans l’empire byzantin au temps des Comnènes et des Anges (Paris, 1918), pp. 210–13.

Orlandos, A. K., “Ta vyzantina mnemeia tes Veras,” Thrakika 4 (1933), 3–34.

Ousterhout, Robert, The Architecture of the Kariye Camii in Istanbul (Washington, D.C., 1987), p. 21. ———, Speculum 63 (1988), 229–31, review of Stefan Sinos, Die Klosterkirche der Kosmosoteira in Bera

(Vira) (Munich, 1985).

Patterson (Sevcenko), Nancy, “Byzantine Frescoes at Pherrai” (M.A. thesis, Columbia University, 1964).

Sevcenko, Nancy P., “The Tomb of Isaak Komnenos at Pherrai,” GOTR 29 (1984), 135–39. Sinos, Stefan, Die Klosterkirche der Kosmosoteira in Bera (Vira) (Munich, 1985).

Talbot, Alice-Mary, “Bera,” ODB, pp. 282–83.

Tapkova-Zaimova, V., “Les noms de lieux dans le typicon du monastère de la Kosmosotira,” Balkansko

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Underwood, Paul, “The Deesis Mosaic in the Kahrie Cami at Istanbul,” in Late Classical and Mediaeval

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———, The Kariye Djami, vol. 1 (New York, 1966), Historical Introduction, pp. 3–23.

Uspensky, Th., “Konstantinopolskii seralskii kodeks vosmikhnizhiya,” IRAIK 12 (1907), esp. 18–32. Varzos, Konstantinos, He genealogia ton Komnenon, 2 vols. (Thessalonike, 1984), pp. 238–54.

Volk, Robert, Gesundheitswesen und Wohltätigkeit im Spiegel der byzantinischen Klostertypika (Munich, 1983), pp. 200–215.

As noted above, this document shares substantial portions of the text of (22) Evergetis. In our translation, the borrowings are indicated in boldface type.


1. [This is the] typikon which I, Isaac [the Sebastokrator], son of the great Emperor Lord Alexios Komnenos, have composed for the monastery which I restored and newly established in the fif-teenth indiction of the year 6660 [ = 1152 A.D.]. Herein is placed the mosaic image1 of the

Kosmosoteira and Mother of God, in many a thing my Benefactress. The region in which this

monastery lies was altogether devoid of men and houses, [the haunt] only of snakes and scorpions . . . [lacuna in the text] wild in every way, and encircled by wide-spreading branches. This typikon


of mine here sets forth in detail my decrees for the administration with the aid of God of this monastery, and commands (these decrees which I now set forth in it being in fact [contained] in my Last and Secret Testament as well, if not in their entirety) that my orders remain immutable and undisturbed throughout all time.

The preface and full text of the typikon have been issued by me while in a condition of grave illness. This is the preface to the full text of [p. 20] this present work which I, the restorer of the holy monastery, as has been said, have set forth in burning faith for my Benefactress, the Mother of God and Kosmosoteira. A flawless ally in every way, I now invoke thee, since it is with thine aid, O all-seeing universal Queen, that I would express the wishes nourished in this at present so wretched mind of mine.

2. Many men, O Mother of God, have piously accomplished in this life many projects pleasing to God, in praise of him, the Lord of all. The works successfully completed proclaim him—though in silence—as with songs of praise, by their very perfection, in the upright faith of the doers. Such men have been allotted everlasting fame after their departure from here. Some of them, by the distribution of monetary wealth to the poor (whom the Lord our Creator called his brothers) (Matt. 25:40), drew his gracious mercy on to themselves and arrived at an end of life befitting their efforts. Others in grand style founded magnificent churches at private expense, and established holy monasteries throughout cities and towns. Still others, those who lacked worldly substance, contributed—according to Gregory, great among theologians—the intensity of their zeal as a gra-ciously accepted offering to the Lord of all.2 Those who successfully accomplished [their projects] and those who did not, received the Lord and Master of all things as the immediate protector of their individual works.

As for me, the unfortunate, I am a latecomer to the works of good men, one who never once gave thought to, nor was cognizant of these things—nor hitherto reflected on the potential advan-tage for my soul in some form of good works. I was finishing the course of my life as a barren and senseless shoot, when at long last I emerged, feebly, barely, from my terrible and long-standing habits as from the deep grave of ignorance, and calculated in my mind the punishment for sin lying in store for me in the next life. Woe is me! So, for some remission and pardon for my innumerable recurring sins, I emerged by God’s inclination from the darkness of ignorance, as I have said, and, exiled from my own country for what crimes God knows, and afflicted with grave illness, I restored this holy monastery of the Mother of God, with the help of God, not out of the profits of injustice (far be it from me, O God!) but at private expense, and in a fashion I believe not unpleasing to God.

From its very foundations, then, I restored the said monastery, in a deserted area, formerly nothing but thickets, commonly called Bera, for the salvation of many . . . .[lacuna in the text] and as atonement and ransom for my countless errors. I awarded it to the Kosmosoteira, Mother of God and Benefactress. I encircled it round with a strong enclosure [wall], and the other necessary dwellings around it, including the wine cellars and granaries, and—to be brief—all the rest of the things required by the monks. I tightly enclosed everything within a double wall. I then realized it was necessary to draw up a well-ordered system, in burning faith for the Mother of God, for this holy monastery and the monks who abide therein with God. [p. 21]


3. First of all, then, for the sake of [singing] the praise of her and of God whom she bore, fifty adult monks living in the monastery [should] be appointed as cantors, seemly in their godly lives and conduct, to attend constantly upon God and to pray for my wretched soul. Moreover, [there should be] another twenty-four adult monks to serve these and to tend to their needs. I do not wish that any one in either group be less than thirty years of age, nor indeed do I want any eunuch to be included among the monks, for I want the monks to live far from this cause of turmoil to natural habits and to morals. For Gregory, the great Theologian, praised quiet in all things as being good for those who devote themselves to it, citing Elijah’s Carmel and John’s desert as testimonies to this truth.3

I want the most honorable superior of this said holy monastery, [whoever he may be] at the time, to enlist monks such as these into it: monks [who are] adorned with virtue, not ones vulgar and undisciplined and thoroughly without learning. May the superior, in his impartial and incor-ruptible judgment, find [both] my Kosmosoteira and Benefactress the Mother of God, and his own godly zeal, ever-present allies indeed for the ready recruitment of such monks. For the Word of God has plainly declared: “Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9).

4. I wish for the superior who is next in line for the succession to be installed in the office of superior by the most holy metropolitan of Traianoupolis—always being chosen for the succession by all the monks, as the metropolitan must not be involved in any other way in regulating the freedom of the monastery. Since it often happens that matters of dispute crop up between men, and even among monks themselves through the malice of the devil, I wish those insoluble and troublesome matters which crop up among the monks to be resolved by their coming together with each other and by the judgment of the most honorable superior. Thus they will achieve quiet and that state of peace with one another which the Lord Creator lovingly recommends at all times to all of us who believe in him. But if the matter is raised by the monks against the superior himself and is insoluble, let the monks raising the matter, along with the most honorable superior, [armed] with the official report of the metropolitan of Traianoupolis of the time, approach the most holy ecumenical patriarch, and submit the matter to him and let it receive the solution from him, in accordance with the canons.

No patriarchal [representative] should be sent by his Holiness for an investigation into this monastery of Kosmosoteira. Rather, let the inquiry and the judgment in the affair come to a valid conclusion before the patriarchal presence and authority. Which patriarch I beseech with tears not to deal lightly with such matters of the monastery and the judgments [concerning them], nor to allow any delay, on account of his Holiness’ overcrowded [p. 22] schedule, in the monks’ sojourn [in the capital], lest they stay away from the monastery for too long and occupy themselves in legal matters. I request that these things be carried out in this way in accordance with the pastoral dignity of my lord the ecumenical patriarch, for the eternal reward of his soul and a peaceful state of affairs among the monks.

5. Now since I have dedicated practically all my resources, both movable and immovable, to the Mother of God here, for my spiritual salvation—on account of which I, the unfortunate, eagerly


await [her] intercession with her Son our God for my wretched soul—I want and wish the monks of the Kosmosoteira my Mother of God to be of one mind with each other with regard to these regulations of mine, and to offer their unwavering assistance. For we have learned that division is in every way a cause of ruin. “For love one another” (John 13:34), our Creator in his divine way has exhorted us. We should keep always the archetype of this exhortation ever present; we must look towards it, and strive [to perform] good works. For this very reason I have appointed an utterly flawless steward for the monastery and have established the Mother of God within it. For [it is] my long labors in life, and my patrimonial inheritance—and not some unjust way of life, so help me God!—which have rightfully furnished the things I have donated to the monastery. O Mother of God, receive graciously what has been offered to thee!

6. I wish the monastery to be a cenobitic institution, [this being] a way of life pleasing to God, and [I wish] the monks to submit to the superior. Their daily meals should be supplied to them all together at a common table, and, it being likely that, with the help of God, they will have a boun-teous supply of food, I make this request to the most honorable superior of the time, and to those performing under him as monks: I earnestly recommend to them, although I am altogether unwor-thy to make recommendations, that whatever edible food is left over each day from their table be distributed by the superior to the poor at the entrance to the monastery enclosure. Let the superior of [the monastery] instruct some of the monks to carry this out without fail for the relief of my boundless errors, so that we may not hear the Lord saying bitterly, “When did you see me hungry and feed me, or thirsty and give me drink?” (cf. Matt. 25:37) and the following chapters of our salvation.

7. Hence, as [I] move along with the present discourse and [begin] to lay out before the monks point by point my whole account and my will, I make this slight request of the most honorable superior and all the monks under him: after the dismissal at vespers, they [should] all assemble before the icon of the Mother of God, and perform the trisagion every evening, [to bring] mercy on my wretched soul, and pronounce on its behalf a suitable ektenes, and stretch out their arms and recite this way the kyrie eleison forty times, with all their hearts. Then they [should] make this recitation: “O Lady Mother of God, deliver thy servant who approaches thee, the founder Isaac, [p. 23] from the punishment to come, by thy intercession with thy Son, enfolding him in thy immaculate arms.” Then they should say the “Fervent intercession” and what follows, while modi-fying in this way the phrase in the middle: “And deliver him from spiritual danger, as thou art the sole swift protectress,” and one further theotokion, suitable for [bringing] mercy on my soul. Thereupon they should each of them proceed to their cells to rest. I wish this to be done through-out the year, in perpetuity, and I beg with tears for loyalty [on the part] of the monks, that they do not set aside this godly undertaking—this being [but] a slight request.

8. Among those wise men who restored holy monasteries and assigned monks to them to sing praise to God, there were many who preferred the Typikon of the Evergetis to the [typika] used in other monasteries. I, too, following their [example], prefer this one, and I wish the monks to join in using it for all instructions, and not to overlook that which it stresses concerning the straight


spiritual path. They should hold to it with reference to the hymnody, and indeed with reference to all [matters of] conduct, as the best possible guide for the benefit of the soul, and [as it were] an

enkolpion [in a setting] of pearls.

For this very reason I took particular care, with guidance from Heaven, in copying and tran-scribing, in this work, word-for-word what was written in the [other typikon]. I then entrusted it to the monks of my Lady the Kosmosoteira and Mother of God and to the most honorable superior, [having arranged things] with as much precision and close consideration as anyone could want, ordering the monks to keep it inviolate throughout all time. For through this work they will surely be guided toward what should be done piously and strictly with respect to hymns to God, and the distribution and use of appropriate food and diet for the body. I have avoided expounding on these things at great length in this work here, not wishing the mind to be trapped by empty repetition. So then let me pull together what I intend [to say] in this present typikon, invoking God and his forever-virgin Mother as defenders of this present exposition and its inalienable preservation. What these things are, and what is my intention regarding them, may this present exposition make entirely clear, and may thou, O God of all, and thy Mother, not overlook their content.

9. Therefore on every feast—I mean of the Mother of God throughout the year, so that [starting] with her I can make a suitable preface of my intent—I wish the monks to get ready to ring the two bells quite loudly with [their own] hands before the hymnody—I mean the two bells which I hung high up in the tower, in place of semantra. But the monks [should] make their way into the space of the church in a holy fashion and celebrate in a splendid fashion the whole hymnody proper to the feast. There should be four lamps lit in the very middle of the church, and two candelabra with eight candleholders should stand by the two icons set out for veneration, that is, in the two parts of the church where my Supremely-good Christ, and the Mother of God and Kosmosoteira, are re-spectively represented with great skill, so [p. 24] that the images appear alive to the beholder, and as though letting out a beautiful sound from their mouths toward him. For it is a marvel to behold these likenesses in painting, that is, alive and yet unmoving in space, and hence to praise the artist whom the First Creator and Lord endowed with the knowledge of how to paint in a novel fashion. For who would not congratulate him, after having traced the form of these likenesses onto his eye and his heart as though it were living.

At any rate, I wish that by both of these icons there be lit as well the triple lamps of silver, those which I hung up nicely before them. Moreover, let all the little candles be lit, along with these, as many as the bronze lamna is able to hold, the one extending above and across the en-trance doors to the sanctuary. Furthermore, [one should light] every lamp suspended from the beams of the church, and from the objects designed to support the holders for the candles—I mean inside the narthex. This is the way I wish the splendid illumination to be arranged on the feasts of the Mother of God, who has given me hopes for intercession and for my salvation. Indeed I wish, in addition to those other things, for her to be honored with expensive oils and incense, and, as far as is possible, by charitable distributions to the poor by the gate—as the judgment and preference of the superior shall surely determine, having God as the ever-present beneficiary of this kind of charitable distribution.


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